An inspiring new center for the arts has been constructed in the heart of Porter Square
Beginning in 2006, Lesley administrators, working with Bruner/Cott & Associates, undertook a comprehensive study of the teaching and learning of students and faculty, initiated conversations with neighbors, and examined other institutions with similar missions in planning for a new College of Art and Design in Cambridge. The resulting study takes the form of a Program Report and establishes a guide of all space needs, community priorities and other important design considerations.
As part of the process towards a rezoning that would allow the facility, the team developed a “massing plan” to show scenarios of how this program could be accommodated on the site of the former North Prospect Church. In summer 2009, the Cambridge City Council adopted a change in the zoning ordinance, allowing the construction of 93,000 sf on the property through a special permit.
Current plans include a relocated and restored historic church, a new four story structure on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Roseland Street and a two story connector building on the east side of the site. The restoration and relocation of the church will increase its visibility on Massachusetts Avenue and anchor the complex in its urban fabric. A wide urban plaza on Massachusetts Avenue will lead to a dramatic glass-enclosed "Arts Commons" entry at the center of the complex, creating a welcoming open space for Lesley and Cambridge neighbors to gather.
A key component of the plan involves placing the most public elements of the College of Art and Design – art galleries, a commons area, and an arts library – at sidewalk level on Massachusetts Avenue. Given the school's mission to share and exhibit art through gallery shows, exhibitions and other arts-related events, placing these uses in the most accessible front-facing spaces on Massachusetts Avenue not only increases the visibility of College of Art and Design, but enhances the quality of Porter Square, encouraging pedestrian traffic, adding vibrancy and light to the sidewalk and spurring activity in the business district.
Bruner Cott & Associates, Architects & Planners
Lunder Arts Center
The Making of the Arts Center
View from across Massachusetts Avenue
View south along Massachusetts Avenue
View north along Massachusetts Avenue